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Christian fundamentalism as a social movement

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  1. Initial discussion of Christianity
    1. The purpose of this paper
    2. Five characteristics that must be met in order to establish a group as a social movement
    3. Mega churches
    4. Calling fundamentalism a social movement
  2. Stage of the movement
    1. Christian fundamentalism: Use of several strategies to maintain itself
    2. A second method of maintenance
    3. A final strategy
  3. Success or failure
  4. Recommendations for the movement's success
  5. Bibliography

There are hundreds of different sub-groups within Christianity. One of the most interesting is Christian fundamentalism. This group of Christians is also one of the hardest to define. According to Paul Merritt Bassett, ?Fundamentalism is a term popularly used to describe strict adherence to Christian doctrines based on a literal interpretation of the Bible. This usage derives from a late 19th and early 20th century trans-denominational Protestant movement that opposed the accommodation of Christian doctrine to modern scientific theory and philosophy.? This is a fairly broad definition. Because the definition of fundamentalism is so loosely constructed a multitude of groups market themselves under the umbrella of fundamentalism. Fundamentalism also differs from many mainstream Christian groups in its unwillingness to comprise.

[...] Before I can analyze what stage Christian fundamentalism is in, I must first establish that fundamentalism is indeed a social movement (Stewart, Smith, and Denton 2007). The first trait that a group must meet in order to be considered a social movement is that it must be organized collectively (Stewart, Smith, and Denton 2007). The fundamentalist movement is organized collectively in two ways. First, they are organized around the same goals. These goals include issues such as abortion, school prayer, and gay marriage. [...]

[...] The fact that it has been able to withstand these defeats indicates that there is something about the underlying structure of fundamentalism that make it a viable strategy for a social movement. Also, because it has survived these defeats, it seems clear that the movement will continue to remain a viable movement for a long time into the future. It is unlikely that the movement will be able to accomplish most of its goals such as illegalizing abortion or re-instating prayer in public schools. [...]

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